After a serious car accident, you should focus on your medical care and recovery. However, there are time limits that may bar you from filing an injury lawsuit or insurance claim if you wait too long after the crash. Because of these “statutes of limitations,” it is important to talk to an attorney about your injury case and get your case filed as soon as you can. A Queens car accident lawyer at Sullivan and Galleshaw explain the time limits for filing your car crash claim in Queens.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Crash Lawsuit in Queens?
New York’s laws create various “causes of action” for personal injury lawsuits and other civil suits. Each of these claims has a “statute of limitations” that dictates how long you have to file the claim. Claims filed after the deadline listed in the statute no longer count and may be barred entirely.
New York’s Civil Practice Law and Rules § 214 creates a 3-year deadline for many civil suits in NY. This includes personal injury cases, which are governed under subsection (4) of this statute. The 3-year deadline to file only stops you from filing cases longer than 3 years after the deadline. Cases filed on-time can continue to move through the court system after the deadline without putting your claim at risk. This deadline applies to all personal injury cases, including bike accidents, bus accidents, and other auto accidents.
This deadline covers court cases, but can also affect filing through insurance. Most New York insurance policies are no-fault insurance policies. That means that you usually file through your own auto insurance and cannot file a lawsuit unless you meet certain requirements. If your injuries are serious, talk to an attorney to see whether filing with your insurance is the right move. However, if you do file with insurance, the deadline to file is up to your insurance policy. If your policy gives you more than 3 years, but you’ve already waited too long to file in court, you may lose bargaining power with your insurance company.
Always talk to an attorney as quickly as possible to ensure you get your car accident or motorcycle accident case filed on time, no matter how you are filing. It is also vital that you discuss your case with an attorney to see what it is worth. Filing with insurance may get you less money than you deserve and may leave you with unpaid medical bills and lost wages that a lawsuit could have covered.
Why is There a Time Limit on Queens Car Accident Claims?
The statute of limitations has a few important purposes. First, it prevents old claims from coming to court. If an injured victim waits years and years to file a case, the evidence and testimony that they have might be outdated and unreliable after so many years have passed. Waiting so long also shows that the claim might not have been important enough to the victim. Filing quickly shows you mean business and have fresh evidence that can prove you deserve compensation.
Statutes of limitations are also used to prevent a case from following a defendant for years. There needs to be a cutoff period where the defendant knows they are safe from a surprise lawsuit. New York legislators decided that 3 years is a fair cutoff that gives victims enough time to file and doesn’t keep defendants looking over their shoulder for too long.
The last reason is to prevent the court from wasting resources. If an old case with outdated evidence would be difficult or unreliable, it may be a waste of time and money for the court to even allow a trial. The statute of limitations is a firm cutoff to prevent “old” cases from wasting time.
Can I Extend the Deadline to File My Queens Car Accident Case?
In some cases, there are rules that help a victim extend their deadline to file. Many of these rules deal with situations where you do not know that you were injured or that someone else’s negligence caused your injuries. These rules typically do not apply to car accident claims, but other rules may apply to “toll” or pause the statute of limitations from running.
If you have a “legal disability” when your injury occurs, you may have the deadline extended. This usually applies if you were a minor or suffered from a mental handicap when the accident occurred. People under 18 have 3 years from their 18th birthday to file the case, and people with mental disabilities get 3 years from the date their disability ends to file their case.
If the defendant leaves the state, you may also get an extension during the time they are outside New York State.
Talk to a lawyer to understand the deadline to file in your specific case.
Queens, NY Car Accident Lawyers Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a car accident, it is vital that you file your case on time to receive compensation. For a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (718) 843-0300. The Queens personal injury lawyers at Sullivan and Galleshaw may be able to help you file your case and get you the compensation you deserve.